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A World Without Sound-bites Or Talking-Points

Obama spoke from the Rose Garden this morning, putting forward his ideas on how to both pay for his proposed American Jobs Act, and further tackle our national debt.

Three hours before he began speaking, I had already heard the “thought out” responses to his speech (which he was 3 hours away from even making), by more than a half dozen Republicans who have been taking their preemptive replies to the media since last week.

When we answer questions before they’re asked, and reply to proposals before they’re even made, aren’t we just setting ourselves up to fail as a nation?

I’ve heard a lot recently from the large group of Republicans who all hope to be President someday, that we “need to have a national discussion” on this and that. It usually sounds to me like they’re taking a pass over giving any real answers or ideas of their own when they say it, but they say it often so I thought maybe they just need someone to get the “discussion” started.

I’d gladly be that person, and I’d only have one rule going in, leave your talking points and sound-bite memos at the door. We’ve all heard them over and over, and frankly, some of it is getting pretty boring.

Higher Taxes Means Less Jobs
Really? Because Ronald Reagan raised “some” taxes, eleven times by my count, and we had significant job growth during those 8 years. Though, there is an argument to be made about the low quality of jobs created during his two terms, but right now I think most Americans (at-least millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans) would welcome even low quality job creation.

Bush (41) threatened to raise taxes and his party bailed on him, so no significant or relevant data from that term to add to this discussion.

Clinton raised “some” taxes, and we had significant job growth during his 8 years.

Bush (43) cut “some” taxes, and the significant job growth stalled.

Obama has allowed himself to be strong-armed over the last 2.5 years into keeping the Bush tax cuts and–still no job growth…

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time we look at the reality that when “some” taxes are more fairly proportionate, it lifts the screws from the middle class and allows the majority of small business owners to feel a bit more certain and confident about the future, which leads to job growth by the largest group of employers in the country.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to stop making false claims just because they fit our agendas and ideologies, and we start talking in hard facts.

For instance, like the hard fact that tax cuts over the last 10 years haven’t led to any measurable job growth what-so-ever.

An entire decade of evidence shows us that lower taxes for the highest earners does not translate into job creation in America at all.

Obama’s Proposals Will Hurt Millions Of Small Businesses
Actually, looking at the numbers that have been talked about and shared, it seems like somewhere around or under 5% of “small businesses” would see any sort of tax increases by what Obama is proposing, the rest would see their taxes remain the same, and even see new tax credits if/when they hire additional employees.

The truth is, most small businesses are already paying the higher tax rates that Obama is proposing all corporations and wealthy individuals pay, because most small business owners are in the middle class and don’t have the lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists at their disposal to game the system.

It’s only a small percentage of companies which actually fall under the status of “small business” and have the resources for getting the advantages of tax breaks and loopholes that would end under Obama’s plans.

Raising Taxes On Just Wealthy People Is Class Warfare
Well then, doesn’t that also mean that lowering taxes on just wealthy people is also class warfare? Only in the other direction?

You can’t have it both ways, we have to stop playing with two-headed coins.

If raising taxes on a specific group is class warfare, then lowering taxes for a specific group is too…and Republicans have been doing that to the benefit of the wealthiest 2% (adding to the burden on the middle class) for years. A lot of years, in-fact, since the 1950′s. It’s about time someone calls them out on it, and hopefully puts an end to their half-century-plus of attacks on hard working, middle class America.

I agree that forcing wealthy people to pay higher proportional taxes would be unfair, unjust and could even be accurately described as class warfare.

However, asking all Americans to pay even proportionate rates just seems fair. If you make $90,000 per year and roughly 28% of 100% of all your yearly earnings goes towards taxes, then anyone making more should be paying roughly 28% of 100% of their yearly earnings in taxes too. No loopholes, no caps, no shelters, no exceptions.

And since I know somebody will read this and say “what about those who work but earn so little that they don’t pay income taxes?”, let me just say first, ask your doctor if a heart transplant is right for you, and second, billionaires already get the same lower end deductions that low income people are getting which void their income taxes, so those deductions are already proportionately fair. Everybody gets them. What’s unfair, is that as your earnings increase, you begin to receive benefits and special treatment that those of lower income can’t. That’s where the unbalance is at.

The American government shouldn’t punish nor reward individual success, it should only work in a neutral manner to create the environment where individual success is possible for all. Not be a tool for those with large pools of money and access to gain preferential treatments.

Obama’s Plan Will Hurt Charities
Heard this sentiment from Gov. Perry today, loved it, laughed hysterically. Then I thought, someone should educate him on the strength of charities in years past, like when the wealthiest Americans were paying a 94% top-rate[1].

For instance, at those incredibly high upper-end tax rates in the early 1940′s, during World War II, the American Red Cross was able to get over 100,000 nurses into service, prepared over 25 million relief packages for Allied prisoners of war, shipped hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies overseas to Allied troops, and launched a national blood donation program that collected more than 13 million pints of blood for use by our wounded soldiers[2].

All of that had to cost a pretty penny, and if it were true–as Perry’s claim appears to imply–that wealthy Americans and American businesses are only donating to charity as a result of being rewarded with lower tax rates and credits for doing so, then I can’t imagine the Red Cross or any charitable organization being able to accomplish the amazing feats that they did at that time.

Do people and companies take advantage of tax breaks for their charitable donations, absolutely. But, is that the only reason they support the organizations and causes that they do? Absolutely not.

It seems I have a more optimistic view of the kindness and compassion that we Americans are capable of showing for one another than Gov. Perry, which is rare since I’m fairly pessimistic by nature, but I also have evidence to support my optimism in this case.

I didn’t start this piece with the idea of finger-pointing, I really just wanted to ponder if wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, if we all started talking in full and un-slanted truths about the mess we’re in?

Wouldn’t it ultimately be more productive if we stopped debating over the spin and ideological rhetoric, and actually just focused on finding real solutions to our very real problems?

Sure, politicians from both sides do it. And maybe I’ve unfairly called out only one side here, but that’s the side I see the worst behavior coming from right now. They have an agenda, they’ve stated it openly, to make Obama a one-term President, and it looks to me like they’re willing to put that agenda before the needs of the nation during a time of crisis.

I get that playing politics is what they do, but when it comes at the expense of suffering to those they’ve sworn to serve, it’s gone too far.

[1] Tax Policy Center

[2] American Red Cross

Administrator.thumbnail A World Without Sound bites Or Talking Points


A conservative liberal with a perspicuous perspective on American politics.

Scott's writings have been published on dozens of news and opinion outlets both online and off.

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